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Andre Villas-Boas takes his new side to Sports Direct Arena this weekend to face Alan Pardew's Magpies. Willie Duncan expects a close match when the sides square up on Saturday

The English Premier League season kicks off this weekend and one of the most mouthwatering fixtures of the opening weekend will take place on Saturday afternoon when Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United welcome Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham Hotspur to Sports Direct Arena.

Both sides finished in the Premier League’s top five last term and this promises to be a thrilling clash as former Chelsea manager Villas-Boas takes charge of his new side for the first time in a competitive fixture.

As expected, the betting market is tight here with Pardew’s Magpies narrow favourites at 6/4 (2.50) with Paddy Power to get their season off to a winning start on Saturday.

Spurs are chalked up at 9/5 (2.80) with the same firm while Paddy Power go 23/10 (3.30) that the match ends all square.

As was often the case last season, Pardew’s men are likely to lean heavily on deadly strike duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse.

Cisse notched an impressive 13 goals in 14 appearances for Newcastle having joined the club in January and he is Paddy Power’s 5/1 (6.0) favourite to start the new season where he left off last season by scoring the opener here while Ba can be backed at 6/1 (7.0) with the same firm.

The value, though, could like with the Magpies’ utility man, Ryan Taylor. Taylor, a renowned dead ball specialist, is chalked up at a chunky 14/1 (15.0) with Paddy Power to score the first goal on Saturday while the 5/1 (6.0) on offer from the Irish bookmaker for the midfielder to score at any time also carries appeal.

Spurs’ search for a new striker continues with Emmanuel Adebayor having returned to parent club Manchester City after spending last season on loan at White Hart Lane so Villas-Boas may opt to start with Jermain Defoe on Saturday.

Defoe, who netted Spurs’ second at Sports Direct Arena when the clubs met in the league last term, scored a spectacular winning goal for England in midweek.

He is 13/2 (7.50) to break the deadlock this weekend while one of Spurs’ newest recruits, Gylfi Sigurdsson is 7/1 (8.0) to score first.

Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart were key men for Spurs last term as they finished in fourth place in the Premier League and both can be backed at 8/1 (9.0) to score first on Saturday.

This has all of the makings of a cracker and, with both sides evenly matched, the 23/10 (3.30) for the match to end in a draw is the recommended play on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Draw at 23/10 (3.30) with Paddy Power
Ryan Taylor to score first at 14/1 (15.0) with Paddy Power

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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